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Back to the Forge, sitting at a corner booth in quiet contemplation, a female friend approaches to offer encouragement. Then a male acquaintance appears, embracing Amplify and saying, “I didn’t mean to disrespect to you, I just didn’t know who you were.” The cause of the confrontation is never revealed, only its end result.
MacDonald presents Unspittable through those small moments that spark curiosity or elicit chuckles while simultaneously revealing character.
Standing in front of Abbey Glen Park discussing a plan to collect some money, Niko Krev crosses 102 Street on a don’t walk signal, and when his friends hesitate to cross with him he gives that look we’ve all made that indicates it’s OK.
A man sells hot dogs outside a hardware store, and when Unspittable’s old Chevy Z71 pulls up Amplify asks how much and is told he has to pay a local scout troop collecting money inside. However, it takes a couple attempts to complete the purchase, with the trio walking in and out to ask the man at the grill once again.
Driving past a row of modest Edmonton bungalows, seen from behind, Amplify says that one of the houses would be good enough for him to call home. His friends encourage him to set his sights higher, insisting they’re “going to make it,” and he reluctantly agrees.
The trio’s musical talent and lyrical wizardry are peppered throughout the film, building up to the final on-stage scene at the Forge. Amplify’s performance is saved for last, and by the time it occurs we’re actively rooting for him, having been taken on a journey that feels far more profound than the film’s 32-minute run time.
Hunters was captured during five days on the road, while Unspittable was shot over the course of two-and-a-half years. But in each film MacDonald shows the steady hand of a seasoned filmmaker and genuine affection for his subjects, producing labours of love around the bands he loves.